Middlesbrough: Craig Wilkins and Laura Russell

#TheList Craig James Wilkins, born 18/03/1979, of Edwards Street, Eston, Middlesbrough TS6 9EZ and Laura Russell, born 23/07/1990, of Carisbrooke Avenue, Middlesbrough TS3 – starved their pet dog to emaciation

Dog abusers Craig Wilkins and Laura Russell from Middlesbrough
Russell blamed ‘depression’ for her neglect of Sasha while Wilkins, a career criminal, refused to accept any responsibility

Mum-of-three Laura Russell and then partner Craig Wilkins caused “substantial suffering” to their pet dog , Sasha, by starving her over a period of at least three months.

Sasha was starved to emaciation by her cruel owners Craig Wilkins and Laura Russell from Middlesbrough

John Ellwood, prosecuting, said the offence occurred between January 25 and February 25, 2017, and that Russell and Wilkins “caused suffering to their Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Sasha.”

He said when the RSPCA found Sasha, “her hips, spine, pelvis and ribs were prominent and she had loss of muscle bulk.

“She weighed 8.8kg at the time but should have weighed 15kg, so she was half of the weight she should have been at.”

He added: “She had a flaky and crusty coat and ate ravenously when she was finally given food.”

Upon interview, Wilkins admitted that he had owned Sasha for about a year and that she had been losing weight for “quite a few months.”

Sasha was subsequently taken into the possession of the police who then fed her and managed to get her back to a normal and healthy weight.

Dog abusers Craig Wilkins and Laura Russell from Middlesbrough pictured outside court
Dog abusers Craig Wilkins and Laura Russell from Middlesbrough pictured outside court

Daniel Burke, defending Wilkins said that he accepted the dog had lost weight but “doesn’t accept necessarily that it was prolonged neglect on his part.”

He said that during the time of the neglect Wilkins had legal restrictions which prevented him from entering the home he shared with Russell on Carisbrooke Avenue, Middlesbrough and so he was not able to look after Sasha.

He added that because Wilkins had owned Sasha for about a year, the “first nine months the dog was well looked after.”

The court also heard that Wilkins had previous convictions for dangerous driving and theft offences and had spent time in prison.

Matthew Agar, defending Russell, said that she was “mortified” to be at court and had “suffered from depression” but “accepted responsibility”.

Speaking of her depression he said: “In reality she should never have had a dog.”

Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months; £415 costs each. 10-year ban on keeping animals (expires June 2027).

Teesside Live

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